Photo Op

Around the time I began writing in my early teens, I became interested in photography. Originally, it was a defense mechanism. I don’t like having my picture taken, largely because even the best photographer can only do so much with the source material. My step-dad loved photography, and to keep him from taking picture of me, I asked how to take a picture.

What began as a dodge became a past-time I deeply loved. I even took several photography classes in high school. Of course, this was back in the day, which meant that I got to develop my own film and process my own pictures. I can’t even imagine a school allowing students to do that now.

Over the years, I moved to digital photography, joining Flickr and using it to up my photo game. I even use Instagram, but it’s largely a place to celebrate my personal photos.

And it was on Instagram that I came across an ad for Saal Digital. They were looking for photographers to try out their design software to create a photo book for free. The only catch is that I’d have to review the finished product.

Now, I never thought I’d be chosen. I mean, I’m a decent photographer and all, but not that good. (Okay, sometimes I am). And anyway, these offers are scams, right?

Nope. This was genuine.

And seriously, I LOVE my photo book.

Look at this cover.

Though I love this book a lot, the cover has to be my favorite aspect. It’s made of lovely, thick acrylic. I wasn’t sure how any photo would look, and I agonized over what to choose, but I couldn’t be happier.

The entire book is well put together and quite study. Their software (which you don’t have to use because it interfaces with other design systems.) is intuitive and flexible. There are lots of bells and whistles you can use to improve photos, and many layouts to choose from, or you can create your own. And if I didn’t understand something, there were lots of tutorial videos.

Please ignore the glare. I chose glossy pages, and if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably choose matte, but that aside, I wanted to show you how their clip art works. It looks fantastic. It was scalable, and my only complaint is that I couldn’t change colors.

There were a lot of backgrounds–solid, gradient, and texture–to choose from. The above is actually a texture. Below is solid.

The color reproduction is excellent.

I won’t lie the digital books are expensive, and I would create one for special occasions only, but I can see this being an ideal vehicle for professional photographers to add value to their clients’ experience.